Patrick McGoohan's performance is magnificent as the picture of dignity and discipline in Colonel Rumford. This episode had many of the earmarks of a classic Columbo episode: great interaction between Columbo and the killer born of a grudgingly built mutual respect, a completely reprehensible victim, self-deprecating humor ("I suppose that's a uniform too" or when they try to have Columbo removed initially from the crime scene), and a finely constructed string of clues that ultimately cause the murderer to be hopelessly snared by a preonderance of evidence when all signs seem to point to an accident or another suspect. There are many memorable scenes in the great outdoor setting of the Citadel, a military school in South Carolina: * the preparation of the murder weapon and the execution of the plan * the chapel scene following the disaster
* Columbo's ill-fated supper after struggling to find the mess hall * Cadet Springer scrubbing the courtyard tiles with a toothbrush while the Colonel assures him he will support him despite an impending charge of murder
* the wonderful moment when the Colonel offers Columbo one of his cigars ("I allow myself just one a day") * the incredible finale when Columbo enlists the Cadets help and the Colonel admits, "You've really done a very good job."
There are so many moments in this episode when McGoohan says so much just by not responding to one of Columbo's persistent inquiries. I loved at the end when he admitted that he should have acknowledged the rag the first time he saw it, as his reaction and Springer's were very different to such a vital piece of evidence.